§ Mr. GAVAN DUFFY
asked the Minister of Agriculture, in the event of foot-and-mouth disease breaking out on a farm, what precisely is the compensation to be paid to the farmer should an order for the slaughter of his cattle be made; will any compensation be payable to such farmers who are wholly or partially dependent upon their milk trade for the loss of that trade during the period of isolation; what is the minimum and maximum period of isolation relied upon by the Board where an outbreak has taken place; and will a farmer who is prepared to take all his own risk be allowed to exercise his own belief that he is able to cure his own cattle of this disease?
Mr. WOOD (for the Minister of Agriculture
The Diseases of Animals Act, 1894, provides for compensation for cattle slaughtered by order of the Ministry as follows:—
- (1) Where the animal slaughtered was affected with foot - and - mouth disease, the compensation shall be the value of the animal immediately before it became so affected; and
- (2) in every other case the compensation shall be the value of the animal immediately before it was slaughtered.
The Act does not provide for the payment of any compensation to stockowners for losses due to the closure of their premises, or other restrictions on a stock-owner's business. In cases in which slaughter is adopted the premises are kept under restrictions which prevent the move- 270W meat of animals on or off the premises for a minimum period of six weeks from the completion of the final disinfection, or two months from the date of completion of slaughter, whichever is the shorter period. This period of isolation may be extended according as local circumstances appear to render necessary. Cattle are slaughtered by order of the Ministry in order to stop the spread of the disease, consequently no farmer has the option of deciding whether to attempt to cure his cattle.
§ Mr. DUFFY
asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is advised that there is now a reasonable practicable alternative scheme for the curing of foot-and-mouth disease in cattle without resorting to general slaughter; and, if so, will he make known at the earliest possible date what the alternative scheme is in order to allay the fear existing among the agricultural class in this country?
The Ministry of Agriculture has never suggested that foot-and-mouth disease cannot be treated by ordinary therapeutic measures so as to result in a large proportion of recoveries in the animals affected, but to put these measures into general practice would maintain the existence of centres of infection, with the result that under the conditions of farming and commerce the disease would become widespread. This, in fact, is what is occurring in continental countries, where the disease is so general that curative measures alone can be adopted. It may be added that the cost of this policy to the agricultural community in such countries in losses of stock, loss of milk, and loss of progeny is far greater than the cost of eradication has been in this country.
§ Mr. A. T. DAVIES
asked the Minister of Agriculture what is the amount of compensation paid to date in respect of slaughtered animals in districts infected with cattle disease; and how many cases of such disease have been reported, and in what areas, during the past seven days?
The total amount of compensation paid since August last and up to and including the 16th instant in respect of animals slaughtered in connection with outbreaks of foot-and-mouth 271W disease is £1,230,963, made up as follows:—
£ 39,763 cattle 1,058,034 18,043 sheep 69,040 19,130 pigs 103,836 43 goats 53 Total £1,230,963
These figures take no account of salvage nor administrative expenses. The total net expenditure in the same period is £1,107,820. The total commitments in regard to compensation for the same period are estimated at a gross total of £2,418,000.
With regard to the second part, 157 cases of foot-and-mouth disease were confirmed in the seven days ended the 15th instant, particulars of which are given below:—
Statement showing the number of outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease for the week ending 15th January, 1924. England and Wales. Chester 90 Cumberland 5 Denbigh 2 Derby 5 Durham 2 Flint 4 Gloucester 1 Isle of Ely 1 Lancaster 5 Leicester 3 Norfolk 1 Northampton 1 Northumberland 4 Salop 8 Stafford 8 Warwick 1 Westmorland 1 Worcester 4 York, East Riding 3 York, North 2 York, West 2 Totals (England and Wales) 153
Scotland. Banff 1 Lanark 3 Totals(Scotland) 4 Totals (Great Britain) 157